Thursday, March 30, 2023

“The Parchman Hour” Features Stories and Music Adapted from Freedom Rides

The Virginia Stage Company continues its 39th Season with The Parchman Hour: Songs and Stories of the ’61 Freedom Riders. Co-produced with Norfolk State University Theatre Company, The Parchman Hour journeys through the Deep South with the pioneers who fought discrimination and paved the way for the future. Written and directed by Mike Wiley, this play is adapted from real life accounts of the 1961 Freedom Rides and shares these struggles through music that ranges from spirituals to Bob Dylan.

With history deeply rooted in racial tension, The Parchman Hour is produced in Norfolk, Virginia at a critical time. “This play is about a time in our recent past when men and women of all backgrounds came together to fight injustice,” says Tom Quaintance, Producing Artistic Director of Virginia Stage Company. “In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, people all over the country are asking, ‘What is going on in Virginia?’” Through song and storytelling, The Parchman Hour shadows our country’s past while sparking conversation about the present.

A video of the cast rehearsing “On My Way” can be viewed here:

The Parchman Hour has performances starting Wednesday, October 25 for three nights of previews with opening night on Saturday, October 28, and runs for three weeks, concluding November 12. Tickets range from $20 – $55 with special discounts for military, students, and groups.

Talk Backs and Community Conversation will follow the Sunday matinee performances on October 29 and November 5 as well as in the community in partnership with other local organizations.  For showtimes, tickets and other Virginia Stage Company shows, visit

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